The worst products you can buy at Aldi

Sometimes bargain shopping at Aldi leads you to the worst products. The grocery chain tends to butt heads with competitors like Walmart and Lidl in a game of who-sells-it-cheaper, as CNN has reported. Despite the huge markdowns on food and homeware items, Aldi still has its faults.

It's no secret that grocery store produce sections have high standards, as shoppers expect glossy-looking fruits and plump, crunchy veggies. With dairy, you want to trust that product labels aren't misleading, and you, of course, want frozen foods that won't make you sick. But the unfortunate truth is that some products can spoil your experience at Aldi stores. Aldi is no stranger to legal confrontation and negative media coverage. That's why The List compiled the worst products to buy at Aldi, so you can make informed decisions at the grocery store.

So, what should you be on the lookout for the next time you're penny-pinching at Aldi? Read on to learn which products have the lowest appeal among Aldi shoppers.

Aldi's leafy greens have a history of getting recalled

Aldi salads have reportedly been linked to food-borne illness. Food Safety News released information about a woman who sued Aldi after an Asian Chopped Salad mix made her sick. The specific case was tied to multiple E.coli outbreaks in the United States related to romaine lettuce — all traced back to the California Salinas region.

According to the same source, the complaint filed against Aldi is only one of 19 regarding the "persistent outbreak" during that decade. ABC News reported that another salad distributor in New Jersey recalled iffy salad sold to Aldi, among other grocery stores, because of another possible E.coli contamination. 

Regardless of potential E.coli contamination, some customers think that Aldi's salad section is hit or miss. One Reddit user stressed the importance of taking control of your purchases during recalls, as sometimes recalled products have remained on shelves, though for how long we can't be sure. If you see recalled greens on sale at Aldi — or any supermarket — bring this to a manager's attention immediately.

The veggies at Aldi look questionable

It's probably a good idea to thoroughly inspect the vegetables sold at Aldi. Pick up and turn over packages so you know you're buying the highest quality products. However, if you opt for Aldi's delivery service, you're taking a gamble on whether or not the delivery person selects the freshest vegetables available. One verified reviewer at Consumer Affairs posted pictures of an Aldi produce delivery that included "useless" and "rotten" products in 2020. The radishes and mushrooms looked withered and unappetizing. The woman concluded, "Save yourself some time and get groceries from other places." Another customer filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau after reportedly discovering bugs in a head of lettuce they purchased. The case was marked as resolved after Aldi issued a $5 gift card for the customer's troubles.

These cases are only two of a series of complaints from customers who feel let down by Aldi's vegetables. Disappointment, anger, and frustration seem to be shared emotions among shoppers. One Aldi customer on Reddit described their shopping experience as underwhelming because of how quickly the vegetables reportedly spoiled after purchase.

If you do buy vegetables at Aldi, remember to do your part and check for bad spots. No one wants to feel like they're throwing money away by purchasing rotten produce.

You might not want to buy this home product from Aldi

Creepy, crawly things have no place in a grocery store. One glimpse of a bug near food items can not only ruin your day but stop you from ever stepping foot in an Aldi store again. That's what prompted Trent Hamm, a personal finance journalist for The Simple Dollar, to write about his bad experience at Aldi.

Except Hamm didn't see just one bug — he reportedly saw hundreds. He recalled a "horde of cockroaches" appearing from within a stack of floor mats at Aldi when he was a child. He fled the store and had nightmares for days. Hamm wondered if he could give Aldi another chance. After visiting a different Aldi, Hamm couldn't shake the feeling that everything was unsanitary even though the store seemed clean..

Hopefully, this story was only a random incident. But knowing a cockroach infestation could have happened once at Aldi is enough to make your skin crawl and want to avoid the floor mat section altogether.

Aldi's vanilla soy milk doesn't contain vanilla

Don't you hate when brands lie to you? According to Truth In Advertising, a man named Steve Gensberg filed a class-action lawsuit against Aldi in 2019, accusing them of mislabeling their Simply Nature Vanilla Soymilk, leading customers to believe it actually contained vanilla. Documents from the Gensberg v. Aldi case accused the grocery store of committing "food fraud," which happens when companies try to pass off imitation products as the real deal.

If real vanilla and artificial vanilla taste the same, then why does it matter? Well, the problem was how Aldi presented their product. There was no mention of vanilla extract or bean on the ingredient list even though the front label had "vanilla" printed on it. Instead, the back of the carton read "natural flavor." The lawsuit claimed that customers may not have bought the soymilk had they known the truth.

It's a good idea to check products' ingredient lists next time you're in Aldi so there are no surprises.

Aldi's vanilla ice cream is reportedly not made from vanilla

Aldi was hit with a class-action lawsuit that criticized the grocery store chain for falsely advertising their ice cream. A customer sued Aldi for allegedly selling vanilla ice cream that isn't derived from vanilla, Legal Newsline reported. Aldi reportedly used misleading labels on their Sundae Shoppe and Belmont ice cream products to entice customers into buying a product that contained artificial flavoring.

Top Class Actions reported that the grocery store "knowingly deceives their customers," according to the case Weber-Lugo v. Aldi. "If ice cream contains non-vanilla flavors and the primary flavor does not come from vanilla ingredients, it must be labeled as 'artificially flavored vanilla ice cream,' according to the Aldi class action," the publication reported, as opposed to "vanilla ice cream."

Again, to make informed purchases, scan the ingredient lists of the ice cream you consider buying before you leave the store with it.

Aldi's fruit is reportedly seedier than you know

Buying cheap fruit can come at a price. According to Aldi Reviewer, hepatitis A contaminated Aldi's Season's Choice frozen raspberries and berry medley brand, and Aldi removed the produce from its shelves. Fortunately, no illnesses were reported. Aldi also voluntarily recalled their Rio Duero peaches, nectarines, and plums due to potential contamination of listeria monocytogenes, according to the store's official announcement.

These recalls alone may not sway you away from Aldi's low-priced fruit, but consider the illnesses reported on IWasPoisoned.com. A woman said she bought Aldi's grapes, and family members who ate them felt severe stomach pains while those who didn't eat any had no symptoms. Another report mentioned that the Sundae Shoppe strawberry popsicle brand "tasted off." A doctor later reportedly diagnosed the patient with acute food poisoning.

So, while Aldi may offer some good deals, you may want to skip some of their fruit.

Aldi's frozen sushi is reportedly a microwavable nightmare

Yes, you read that right. Frozen sushi is an item for sale at Aldi. For around $4.99, you can try microwavable versions of your favorite rolls. The Fusia Asian Inspirations brand tempts you with popular varieties: Shrimp and Avocado rolls, California rolls, Philadelphia rolls, Coconut Shrimp Tempura rolls, and Spicy Crab rolls. 

Unfortunately, many Reddit users have shared terrible reviews of these products. One person, who claimed to not have "any issues with seafood" and to have "a pretty strong stomach," allegedly felt sick and threw up all morning after eating Aldi's microwave Philly roll sushi. Another person brave enough to try the rolls claimed they were "inedible" and "soggy." A third described the taste as "undercooked" and "dry."

Others wrote less descriptive reviews, using "pass" and "meh" to sum up their impressions. Even though microwavable sushi may have a certain appeal, you don't need to take the risk or lose $6.49 over it.

Aldi reportedly discounts dead flowers

At the entrance of some Aldi stores, you're bound to notice a tight corner where the company keeps its "floral" section. And prices may be reduced if the plants are close to dying. According to the Money Saving Expert, some garden-savvy customers suggested that the company may neglect watering the plants they have for sale. 

But an Aldi branch in England does have an outside space dedicated to plants, and not even the open-air seemed to save them from dying. The Daily Mail published gloomy pictures of potted flowers at an Aldi that were marked down to £1.99, or about $2.50. The dead plants reportedly stayed on sale for several days as Aldi continued to wheel them outside for customers to buy.

While Aldi's flower section may draw less appeal than their food or homeware items, it's a shame that at least one Aldi has reportedly kept dead flowers on the shelves. They're the first thing you see as you head into Aldi, and that could set a dull tone for your shopping experience. Plus, who wants a dying plant?

Aldi's knockoff makeup is disappointing

Aldi can't conceal the truth behind their imitation makeup. Sure, it's budget-friendly, but, according to The National Law Review, celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury sued Aldi for copyright infringement because of obvious packaging similarities. Tilbury alleged that Aldi's £6.99 "Broadway Shape and Glow" bronzer looked just like her £49 "Filmstar Bronze & Glow" product. Aldi lost the court case because their packaging appeared to have the same starburst and diamond shapes as Tilbury's bronzer, as originally reported by The Mirror (via Hello!). The grocery store has reportedly tried really hard to match other name brand products like Chanel and Urban Decay as well. 

To test the effectiveness of Aldi's makeup, a reporter at HuffPost wore Aldi makeup for a day and shared her opinion. Notably, she applied Aldi's Illusion Touch 2 in 1 concealer and foundation and "had never been so oily" a few hours later. The eyeshadows, bronzers, and lipsticks didn't get high marks either. At the end of the day, the reporter wasn't impressed with Aldi's hard-to-blend and often short-lived makeup. However, she did like the mascara, so maybe just steer clear of all Aldi makeup save for that.

Some Aldi meat products have been recalled

In another voluntary recall, Aldi removed their Bremer Classic Handheld hot stuffed sandwiches (aka rip off Hot Pockets) from stores because of a possible "foreign material" contamination in April 2019. Aldi's official press release specifically identified the Ham and Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza flavors and shared some not-so-tasty news about what was in them. Select stores in 29 states got rid of the product so no one would chomp down on "hard semi-transparent plastic."

But this wasn't the only meat product up for recall. In May 2019, Aldi shared that their Kirkwood Buffalo Crispy Chicken Strips and Honey Barbecue Crispy Chicken Strips may have included pieces of metal. The press release named Tyson Foods as their distributor and issued a formal apology for the inconvenience. 

It's worth noting that Aldi reportedly didn't receive a passing grade from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund when they assessed which stores notify customers about recalls, according to Food Safety News. The supermarket assessment took into consideration which stores, including Aldi, use in-store and direct customer notification when products are unsafe. Unfortunately, Aldi ended up with an "F." 

Buying toilet paper from Aldi won't save you money

One reason people shop at Aldi is to cut costs. When your grocery bills come out lower than expected, saving money feels like an achievement. Wouldn't you prefer to save, even if it's just a couple of pennies, at the most cost-efficient store? After all of the hype surrounding Aldi's low prices, there's one product that Walmart sells a little cheaper. 

A 12-count package of toilet paper at Aldi goes for $5.49, but you can save a little more when you buy Walmart's 12-roll $4.97 option, according to "Debt Free Life Coach" Lauren Greutman. That difference might seem small, but if you're sticking to a tight budget, every cent adds up. 

Another consideration to remember is that Aldi doesn't accept manufacturer coupons. According to Reader's Digest, you can save on paper products at other stores by using these coupons and staying on top of weekly sales. Walmart loves a good rollback too. Why not take the discount on a product you know you'll need?

Aldi's kitchen products may contain lead

There's just no sugar-coating an oversight like selling water taps with high levels of lead. According to the Daily Mail Australia, a test revealed that a $79.99 kitchen tap sold at Aldi — specifically, the Easy Home spiral spring mixer kitchen tap — contained dangerous levels of lead. In fact, it was reportedly 21 times the maximum allowable amount.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission raised suspicions about the safety of the kitchen tap and warned consumers against using it for drinking, The Queensland Times reported. Regarding the tap, a professor at the University of Melbourne School of Chemistry stated, "I wouldn't use the water from this tap." One customer asked a difficult question about the scandal: "It's scary. You've got to wonder, would Aldi's management give their kids the water from that tap?"

What's worrisome is that Aldi claimed the product was safe, even though test results reportedly suggested the exact opposite to be true. 

It'll be years before all the eggs sold at Aldi are ethically sourced

Although Aldi offers a decent selection of organic, cage-free, and free-range eggs, the store still promotes a product that's not cruelty-free for under a dollar. Depending on your location, Aldi's eggs can go for less than $1, according to True Money Saver. This price wins in a landslide compared to Walmart's 12-count Great Value large, white eggs, which sell for around $1.40.

Aldi announced their commitment to transition all of their eggs to cage-free by 2025, according to their corporate site. The grocery store swears by their belief in responsibly sourced food. But will consumer demand for the inexpensive eggs be able to handle Aldi's alleged concern for animal welfare? That remains to be seen until Aldi's eggs are all ethical. But even then, the Humane Society shared the truth behind the term "cage-free." Depending on whether or not Aldi participates in animal welfare certification programs, eggs being labeled "cage-free" doesn't guarantee suppliers won't force their chickens to molt through starvation. Or that the chickens will spend time outdoors. So, if this is a concern for you, it's probably best to do some research before heading to Aldi for eggs.